Historic Saloons get Grand Prix slot

An over-flowing grid of Ford Mustangs, Lotus Cortinas, Mini Coopers and Alfa Romeos will bring the curtain down on the 2008 British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone on Sunday 6 July in the Historic Saloon Car Challenge.

The Historic Sports Car Club has put together a fabulous field of pre '66 saloon cars for the race that will follow the British Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. From an initial entry of over 80 cars, a capacity field of 48 cars plus six reserves has been selected for this very special race, which is sure to be a real crowd pleaser.

While no less than 15 American V8 monsters head the entry, smaller-engined cars pack out the field. If the track is dry, a gaggle of Ford Mustangs should set the pace with drivers like John Young, Richard Styles, Neil Cunningham, Peter Hallford and James Dodd to the fore. In Ford Falcons will be Chris Clarkson and David Thomas, while Nick Whale's Mercury Cyclone Comet adds another marque to the grid.

Leading the Jaguar entry is Graeme Dodd in his very rapid Mk2, although he will be hard pressed to match his own Mustang in the hands of son James, while Rolf Stockebrand brings his 1964 Mercedes 300SER from Germany.

Taking the fight to the American pack will be the fastest of the BMWs, Alfa Romeos and Lotus Cortinas and it is former Grand Prix racer Jackie Oliver who heads the BMW contingent. Forty years ago, Oliver led the early laps of the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in his works Lotus 49B. Other rapid BMWs include those of John Clark and Bill Wykeham, while Mark Garritt heads the Alfa Romeo runners in his Giulia Sprint GT.

As many as nine Lotus Cortinas will be bidding to get up among the V8 pack, with Dan Cox, Jonathan Gomm and Kerry Michael set to be the leading runners. Meanwhile, the very rapid Ford Anglias of Bob Bullen, Neil Wood and Steve Read will also be in contention and Wood has already been a winner at Silverstone this season.

Banbury racer Roger Godfrey is the local ace in the Mini Cooper pack, while Simon Benoy tops the Hillman Imps in a field that also includes rarities like the Austin A105 of Iain Rowley, the DKW of Tim Bishop and the Fiat-Abarth 850TC of Paul Hocking.

The Historic Saloon Car Challenge will showcase the type of cars that competed in the early years of the British Saloon Car Championship, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season. After qualifying at 17.45 on Saturday, the half-hour race starts at 15.25 on Sunday.